It’s a wonder that recipes get shared between cooks on either side of the Atlantic. Butter beans are lima beans in the USA, while heavy cream is called double cream in the UK. If you’re growing food in the garden, there’s even more complication… eggplants for aubergine, zucchini for courgettes and arugula for rocket, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to different names for the same plants.
So, depending on where you garden or cook, these are either coriander or cilantro seedlings popping up all over my vegetable patch. I did read that in the US the whole plant is called coriander, and just the leaves are cilantro – if that’s the case, then maybe they are coriander seedlings wherever you garden and the difference in name only starts when the leaves are picked and taken to the kitchen. The mild winter here has meant that we’ve had coriander leaves / cilantro to use right through since last summer. Not huge amounts of leaves, but enough to keep us in salsa. Now that there are young plants growing again, the harvest will soon start to overtake demand and I’ll either need to get creative with recipes using coriander, or start weeding.
On the creative recipes front, here’s an idea for a full-flavoured dip or dressing. I was tasting flavoured olive oils from Casa de l’Oli at the Good Food Show in Harrogate on Friday… the basil oil is especially good. This got me to thinking of using our locally grown oil with some herby flavours. At the moment, there are large stretches of Yorkshire fields full of the blazing yellow flowers of oilseed rape. The oil extracted from the small black seeds of oilseed rape is gaining quite a following among chefs and home cooks because of its health benefits and versatility.
And after the meeting of Yorkshire and France in the last post, here’s a Yorkshire – Mexico fusion. Lots of flavours inspired by Mexican food – coriander (… cilantro), chillies, lime and tomato, all brought together in a Yorkshire-grown oil. Use the oil as a dip, sprinkled with some sea salt flakes and served with chunks of bread. Or spoon it over avocado on toast (one of the finest dishes known to man). It’s also good for adding a touch of heat and herby flavour to corn on the cob, and is messy but magical on a sandwich with Wensleydale cheese.
Mexican oil dip
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped and crushed
red chilli to taste, chopped
2 spring onions (scallions?), chopped
small handful of coriander leaves and stalks, roughly chopped
1 small tomato, diced
1 tbsp lime juice
50ml cold pressed rapeseed oil
fine sea salt
Bash the garlic, chilli, spring onions, coriander and tomato together using a pestle and mortar until you have a mushy, fragrant mixture without too many large lumpy bits. Add the lime juice and oil, stir, then season to taste with salt and more chilli if necessary. Leave the oil to sit for an hour or so before serving – the flavour will get better.